I’ve been on the road from Bucksport through Milbridge since mid June researching a new edition of my Moon Acadia book. Here’s what I’m seeing and hearing:
• Where are they? The RVs, I mean. Ditto for the SUVs, far far fewer are chugging up Route 1 and down the peninsulas.
• Traffic seems a bit lighter, but those on the front ranks of tourism report that the tourists are here (must be coming in smaller vehicles). No vacancy signs are out; restaurants, for the most part, appear busy; parking is again a valued commodity.
• But they’re not buying. When I stopped into one gallery yesterday sometime well after 2 p.m., I was the first customer in the shop that day.
• Lobstermen aren’t fishing. Traps are piled on boats and in yards. According to those I’ve chatted with, the cost of bait and the cost of fuel are too high; the price for lobster and the demand for it are too low.
• And that shopkeeper where I was the first customer of the day; her husband is a lobsterman. His boat is out of the water. That family is relying on her income. “What I make in the next three months is what we’ll have for the winter,” she told me.
• The owner of a cottage colony who is active in his church reports that already, the local food pantry can’t keep up with demand.
As that old Maine chestnut goes: The Depression wouldn’t have been so bad, if it hadn’t come on the heels of such hard times.